2002 Kawasaki ZX6R For Sale

Is an oldie still a goodie?

2000 Kawasaki ZX600
2000 Kawasaki ZX600©Motorcyclist

Question

I'm interested in getting a 600cc sportbike, but my finances for purchase and insurance are tight. The 2000–2002 Kawasaki ZX6R is in my price range, and insurance is quite a bit less than similar Honda and Yamaha models. I'm a fairly competent DIYer, but I wonder if a well-maintained 16-year-old bike with 30,000 miles would have plenty of life in it or be a money pit of maintenance. Also, it looks like the 2005–2008 ZZR600 is virtually the same bike. Are there some significant advantages to getting a more recent model?
Bob Nichols / Claremont, CA

Answer

The fact that so many 20- and 30-year-old bikes are still running fine today is a testament not only to their owners’ care but to improvements in motorcycle reliability and build quality over the past few decades. Still, when it comes to your situation, as Indiana Jones said, “It’s not the years. It’s the mileage.” What really matters is how the bike was treated in those 30,000 miles.

The overall condition of the motorcycle is a good indicator. If it’s clean, straight, and leak-free, that’s a good sign. The more things you see that make you think, “I’ll want to fix that before long,” the sooner you should walk away. Even on a well-maintained bike of that age, you’ll want to replace the rubber brake hoses with braided stainless lines, flush and fill the brake and cooling systems, change the engine oil and filter, and check the valves if it hasn’t been done recently. Spoon on new tires if the old ones are more than four or five years old, regardless of tread wear. If the bike’s been sitting, load test the battery at your earliest opportunity and replace it if it doesn’t hold a full charge. Online forums will tell you what other specific issues to watch for with the model you’re looking at.

Whether getting a newer model is better, that’s up to you and your budget. If the differences in specs don’t matter to you, we’d say get the less expensive bike and put the savings into freshening it up.